Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is when your blood glucose levels are too high for too long. DKA most commonly occur at diagnosis, especially in people with Type 1 diabetes. They are often only diagnosed with Type 1 after they’ve gone into DKA.

DKA occurs when there is a severe lack of insulin in the body, this means the body is unable to use the glucose for energy. Instead it starts to break down fat. Ketones are the by-product of the breakdown of fat and, if left unchecked, can build up and cause the body to become acidic.

The main symptoms of DKA include:

  • Heavy or laboured breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Stomach pains
  • Stupor or unconsciousness.

DKA is very serious and if left untreated can be fatal. Therefore, if your child shows any signs of one or more of these symptoms, go to the hospital immediately.

Steps to take

DKA is usually avoidable. Always ensure your child takes the right amount of insulin in relation to the amounts of food to be eaten and activity. By keeping a good check on their blood glucose levels and consulting your child’s healthcare team will help to avoid episodes which can be both life-disrupting and life-threatening.

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